14 Ways to Help Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma Victims

6 Ways to Help Hurricane Harvey Victims

Updated Sept. 11 

On Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas as a Category 4 hurricane. Since then, it has set a record for inches of rain from a tropical cyclone in the continental United States: 51. And, as of Tuesday morning, 3,400 water rescues have been made in Houston alone and an estimated 30,000 people will need temporary shelter.

And on Sept. 6, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Barbuda before hitting Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Haiti, the Bahamans, Cuba, and other islands as well as Florida and Georgia. Millions of people have been affected by Hurricane Irma.

In the wake of such devastation, stories of hope and heroism have left us inspired. Athletes and celebrities have also given their time and money to support those affected.

Here are a few ways we can also help here in Chicagoland. And find even more charities in need of your help using Charity Navigator’s Harvey and Irma pages.

1. Donate to Feeding America Food Banks

Feeding America is delivering food, water and emergency supplies to those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Consider donating money to one of the following Feeding America food banks in Southeast Texas:

You can also help feed those affected by Hurricane Irma.

2. Support the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is on the ground providing shelter, meals and other support to those displaced by both hurricanes. You can donate to the Red Cross online to choose the amount you’d like to give and make sure it goes toward hurricane relief efforts. You can also donate by phone at 1-800-435-7669.

If you donate here for either Harvey or Irma relief efforts, Make It Better and another donor will match your donation up to $25,000 each! 

ABC 7 Chicago will also support the American Red Cross on Aug. 31 during their Day Of Giving. Watch from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and make a donation by calling 312-750-7007.

3. Help UNICEF USA Support Children

Donate to UNICEF USA and 90 percent of every dollar spent will go directly to help children around the world. Learn more about how you can best help. 

4. Sign Up to Volunteer

The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster says that while conditions will not allow for volunteers to arrive in Houston right now, volunteers will be necessary in the future. If you are interested in volunteering in and around Houston, register with a National VOAD Member or fill out this form. You can also donate money to a Texas VOAD Member of your choice.

5. Don’t Forget About Animals

PAWS Chicago will soon send vans to Texas to rescue animals in an effort to make more room in shelters down south. Your donation will provide medications, vaccines and more.

The Houston Humane Society and SPCA of Texas are also working to protect animals in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Consider donating to these organizations to support their rescue efforts.

6. Do Yoga for Irma Relief

On Sept. 14, Reach Yoga in Glencoe will host a donation-based yoga event from 6:30-7:30 p.m. All donations will be given to support relief efforts.

Reach Yoga donated $400 to the Houston Food Bank after a similar fundraiser earlier this month.

7. Sip Cocktails for a Cause

On Sept. 3, 15 percent of total sales and all gratuities at The Walk-In (2727 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago) will be donated to the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

8. Get a Haircut for Harvey Victims

Adam Bogucki of Lumination Salon will host a Cut-a-Thon on Sept. 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 3255 N. Paulina. All proceeds from cut and color services will benefit the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Email Adam at adam@luminationsalon.com with a few time options to schedule your appointment.

9. Order ‘Pizza with a Purpose’

On Sept. 7, these Chicago-area U.S. Pizza Team members and pizzerias will donate $2 per pizza purchased to the Houston Food Bank:

10. Enjoy All-You-Can-Eat Mussels

Lincoln Park’s Chez Moi will host Mussel Fest Sept. 8-17. For $25/person, you can enjoy all-you-can-eat mussels prepared four ways by Chef Dominque Tougne. The best part? The bistro will be donating $1 to the Red Cross for every pound of mussels sold during the event.

11. Run to Support Relief Efforts

On Sept. 10, during the Travis Manion Foundation Chicago 9/11 Heroes Run 5K and Fun Run, donations will be collected for relief efforts in Texas. The foundation will also send a Service Expedition of veterans and family members of the fallen to Houston in the spring. All 9/11 Heroes Run races around the country will run with a Texas flag that will then be sent to Houston, where the country’s largest 9/11 Heroes Run takes place. That run has been postponed until Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).

12. Dine Out for the Houston Food Bank

Francesca’s Restaurant Group will donate $1 for every guest served on Sept. 11 to the Houston Food Bank, with a goal of donating 22,500 meals. Participating restaurants are:

  • Francesca’s (all locations)
  • Davanti Enoteca (all locations)
  • Disotto (310 Green Bay Road, Highwood, Illinois)
  • Fat Rosie’s (28 Kansas St., Frankfort, Illinois)
  • Hillgrove Tap (800 Hillgrove Ave., Western Springs, Illinois)

13. Help With Art

Visit Formento’s on Sept. 13 for “RuinART: An Evening with Joey Africa.” A signature piece by Joey Africa will be auctioned off to benefit Hurricane Harvey relief. The event will also feature Ruinart Champagne, live music and food from Formento’s. Purchase tickets now.

14. Buy a ‘Texas Forever’ Shirt

Proceeds from The Shop Forward’s “Texas Forever” shirt (a nod to “Friday Night Lights”) will support the American Red Cross’ efforts in Texas. And through Sept. 30, 100 percent of proceeds from Magnolia’s “Texas Forever” shirt will also benefit relief efforts.


Do you or the organizations you support have more great ways to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey? Let us know in the comments below or email info@makeitbetter.net and we’ll add them to this article!

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